Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Still in relaxation mode...

Ah, New Year's Eve. And I'm still relaxing and not knitting like a fiend. Well, not on socks. I lost my beloved camouflage mitts on the drive home - left them in a restroom. This wouldn't bother me so much if I hadn't, as I set them down, said to myself, "This is potentially a bad spot to set down your mitts, kiddo. You might forget them..." So, I whipped up a pair in Lion Brand Moonlight Mohair. Oo. Pretty. Sparkly. And then last night I noticed the little ball remaining from knitting my Christmas Calorimetry... And I thought that little Christmas mitts would be fun to wear whilst celebrating Christmas with the Mills boys... So, I'm knitting those instead! About one quarter of the way along... should be able to finish them during lunch (with a little bit of time before I leave tonight to supplement that...). And given that I made little Christmas slipper socks ages ago in the same yarn, I'll be quite coordinated! I hope Bret and Jared don't gag!!!

Along the relaxation lines, I actually got to do something I wanted to do before Christmas but didn't have the time - I went to Lake Hope State Park and walked down the Trail of Lights with my friend Cindy. The trail wasn't quite as long as I'd hoped, but the lights were pretty. We ended up walking it twice (my suggestion) and it was just lovely. Not too windy. Not too cold. Very quiet (we were the only ones there when we started the trail, though people were in the parking lot getting ready to leave when we arrived, and others arrived as we were leaving). The displays were a little beat up from being out all December long, but still very festive. And I brought a thermos of hot chocolate which we drank in the car after the walk. All in all, a very lovely evening. And I got home with still time to work on stuff. So I packed clothes for the weekend and wrapped the last two presents: Jared's box (easy) and Bret's table (not so much...).

Have you ever wrapped a skinny little table that's not at all in a box? Oh, it was fun. Rule #1: no cellophane tape could be applied directly to the wood. Rule #2: every bit needed to be covered. Wrapping using these rules was a bit of a challenge. The taper of the legs was a help, actually. The paper only slid down so far... So, the legs were each covered and then the apron and top were wrapped, taping the paper to that on the legs. And! I finished a role of wrapping paper that I've had for years. Exactly. None to spare (well, I'm not counting the pieces that are about 1" x 3" that I cut out of the top piece to get around the legs...). How cool is that? Now, of course, the trick will be getting it in and out of the car without damaging all that hard work!

Monday, December 29, 2008

What a Joyous Whirlwind!!

Back from Christmas with the family. It was so wonderful to see them all. I wish I could have spent more time with everybody. I'm contemplating taking weekends and visiting one portion of the family at a time. It's a little hectic with everyone all at once, or running from house to house in one day. Joyous. Merry. Wonderful. But, hectic.

And, yes, two presents got wrapped unfinished. And that's okay. I'll get them done by the end of January. And one last present is almost finished, but I'm pretty unhappy with it. The hall table is just not right. Bummer. But, I will finish it tonight, and take it up to Bret and tell him that he can help design a better one (one that will fit his needs). And the next one I won't make the doweling mistakes on the legs (I might even cheat and buy legs already made...). It's actually not a bad little table. It's just not a great little table.

On the bright side, I have two presents started for next year! And plans for others.

This year will be the year that I get everything done. I will start in September, when things aren't too crazy. I will have everything planned by the time October comes around, so there will be no scurrying about trying to decide what to knit. I've started the list today!! Which means I won't forget the excellent idea I had on Christmas Day for my niece and nephew-in-law!! WoOt!!

And maybe, just maybe, next Christmas I'll actually get to relax!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I ain't going down with this ship...

Which means I am putting my hands up and surrendering. Yip. Two projects moved to Next Year status. One project wrapped way not done (but it's argyle, and all the diamonds and lines are done, so he'll get the idea). I am going to try to do a pair of socks today. The pattern is written quite weirdly, though... So, I'm going to use it as a guideline...

I did get a lot done next year. And I have two projects in progress for next year already! So, I'm ahead, right?!?!

Joyeux Noel to anyone who reads this!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

It's Friday... and, yes, rain...

Oy, yesterday did not quite go as planned. I opted not to touch the wood working, as I'd pulled a muscle in my back trying to get my neck to relax. Yeah. It was a bad afternoon. And now, I'm a bit achy. And I need not to be. But, I shall persevere. I think...

I sat down to work on knitting in my comfy recliner with a rice-filled heating pad thingie to help the neck, and, I was out like a light. Slept for an hour. I totally needed that nap in a physical sense, but I totally needed to knit for that hour in a project-production sense. Oh, well. Spilt milk, water under the bridge and all that. It was marvelous waking up and finding the cat, Bertimus Maximus, on my lap. I vaguely remember him being there when I started to feel the click coming on. And I woke up with a very warm and toasty lap.

My neck feels absolutely fine this morning. That pulled muscle? Not so much.

What did I get done? Well, I put the finishing touches on some beaded banners that I've been considering done, but weren't really - 15 minutes of work left was close enough in the Grand Scheme, but it was still not officially done. Now, officially, they are done, done, done.

I needed a little brainless-ness, so I worked on making sure I have boxes for everything. Oops. I don't! Well, I have boxes, but they're going to be too small. Just one box shy. I might have something that will work, but it certainly isn't the standard size. Of course, I could shoot for a wacky package - maybe a big tube? I need to figure out something for the cardigan that's not done yet...

And I got much closer to the toe on the Earl Grey. Very close. I probably would have gotten closer if I hadn't watched television while knitting. But, hey, I kinda needed some Christmas specials/movies, eh!!

How do I feel about this weekend? I feel like it's going to hurt. A lot. I feel like I'm going to need to take the muscle relaxants. And I feel like I won't get everything done. I may feel better about this after tonight. If I can get the sanding done tonight, then... well, that's the most physically abusive thing I have left. It would be so nice if it was done. So nice. Did I mention that I'd done the math, and I can stain and poly everything on one day? I was worried that I made a mistake (who, me?), so I double-checked the directioins. Between stain and poly, I need 8 hours, and I had computed with 4 hours (between coats). Panic!! Terror!! Recalculate... Oh, goodie!! If I start at 7am, I can still get it all done in one day. I'm not going to run the humidifier, so the house proper should be nicely capable of dessication. I'll bring the wood up tonight and hopefully the cats (cat, actually... Bert, specifically...) won't figure out how to open the door and get to all that nice unfinished wood that he likes to scratch so much. It's kind of nice that there's a whole bunch of waiting in finishing process. Working on wood will break up the knitting, but there's still a bunch of time for knitting to get done!

Achy. Worried. Still mostly positive.

That's where I am....

Thursday, December 18, 2008

It's Thursday and It's Overcast

Continuing our weather-related boring titles...

Another night of fun and getting to bed too late, and not getting everything crossed off the list. I have an excuse, though. I added "Dinner with Cindy" to the list because she suggested it when I asked about borrowing her sewing machine. I thought I wanted to zig-zag something, rather than apply fabric paint. But when I grabbed it to run over to Cyn's... well... it really didn't look like something that should be zig-zagged. Cindy concurred. And fed me a really awesome beef stew. And showed me the Christmas present that she's working on for me - a phenomenal silk veil with a beaded edge. Did I mention I'm in a medieval recreation group? It's up near the top of the page... Well, this veil is going to look so absolutely fabulous when it's done. It's just beautiful. And I may need to make a new dress to wear with it. Or maybe I could just finish one that's in progress? It was kind of nice to be "given" a present that had to be taken back to be finished...

In progress. That seems to be the theme of my life right now. So many things are simply "in progress" but not moving along to "finished" nearly as quickly as they should. I have so many medieval garments that got to the point where they would be more complicated than I thought I could handle at the time. So, I put them down. Then I put them in a bag. Then I put the bag in a box. Then I put the box in the closet (well, if I was feeling really motivated, I'd put the box in the closet). The "then...then.." process would take 4 or 5 weeks. And at each step, I thought I'd be pulling the item out and working on it. It's not just Christmas, it's everything.

At least with the Christmas projects, I am working on them. So, they truly are in progress. But progress is slow. I don't seem to be able to do more than 2 hours of active wood working each night before I feel the "I'm tired enough to make a big mistake" take over my body. Which is truly a good time to stop...

I have a question. Why is it that when you have to hammer nails into both the front and back of something, that when you are nailing away, the only place you miss the nail with the hammer is on the front (the more important, has-to-look-pretty side)? No kidding. I missed the same nail three times last night. On the front of the table apron. Three. And did I miss any one of the six nails I had to hammer on the back? Nope. How many of the six nails on the front did I successfully pound in and sink without making a single mar on the face of the apron? Two. Which means new dings that have to be sanded out. And I just couldn't face that... So, the table is not ready to stain yet. But, fear not! I did the math and I could actually do both coats of stain and both cots of rub-on polyurethane in one day. And that day would be Saturday. So, I'm not going to kill myself trying to get past that wood working fatigue point. If I can get two good hours tonight and tomorrow night, I'll still be mostly on track.

I thought I was way off track with the socks. But then I finished the gussets on the Earl Blue and measured them. Holy Cannolis!! I'm almost 4" down the length of a sock that needs to be 11.5" in length. That's one third of the way!! Which means that I'm not nearly as far behind on these socks as I thought I was. Which is not to say that I'm as far along as I want to be... But, I'll take any bit of positive I can right now. And 4.5" to the toe is just marvelously positive when I was expecting more like 6.5"...

As I mentioned yesterday, precisely one item migrated to the Done list: The sweatshirt. And it looks fabulous. And I'm glad I decided I'd do the paint rather than zig-zag. And none of the cats walked across it while it was drying.

Tomorrow, I hope to be able to cross two things off, but it's more likely that it'll just be one.

I'm okay with that...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Once again, I lied...

I get to move something from the in-progress list to the done list!!! The stitch markers are complete and nestled in their Altoid Box home!! Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's Wednesday and it's melting...

Such creative titles this week!! Well, I use the lack of brain wattage for anything not project related as my excuse. Weather-schmeather. Day-schmay. As long as I wake up, get to and from work, it's all the same to me. So much so that I could have sworn yesterday was Wednesday. And I truly woke up thinking today was Thursday. On the bright side, when I realize what day it truly is, I am pleasantly surprised by the fact that I have one more day than I thought!

Everything took so darned long last night, but much progress was made. I don't actually get to move something to the completed list, but I do get to update some "0%" bits in the list. Tonight, there's a few simple things that will wrap up pretty quickly. And then some stuff that won't. Life's like that, dontcha know!

I left the little schedule book at home, so I can't verify what I'm behind on. But! I did buy the one item and the one piece of wood. And I bought the correct kind of wood. Yes, I have a lovely little bit of poplar now. Yesterday was crafty, non-knitting day, so no wood working. But, tonight. Tonight I will cut and sand the last piece of wood. And I will get ready to stain the table. And it will be a good night!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tuesday, and it's snowing...

But it didn't snow enough to shut down the county (which is the only way I get a snow day).

Once again, the table proved to be recalcitrant. Coupled with a completely idiotic maneuver on my part. P is for poplar. P is for pine. Guess what wood I needed to buy to rework a piece that I botched? And guess which wood I actually bought? Yip. Needed A, bought B. So, I didn't finish all the assembly last night. Bummer. But... I did put the apron together. It's clamped and drying. And in the long run, only two holes needed to be redrilled to reorient the straight-up leg into a straight-down position. Looking kinda nice... Even with clamps and no finish.

Did more shopping on the way home from work, more than I meant to. And less than I meant to! Forgot to double-check the list. One item left to buy and the Christmas shopping is complete. One.

Well, one item and one poplar board... ;)

Monday, December 15, 2008

just had to mention...

I kitchenered the toe and wove in the ends at lunch. The Diagonal Rib socks are truly done.

And I made The Revised Grand Schedule... All the way through to packing up and traveling. And, yes, it can be done.

Tonight we have a chance of getting a dump of ice and/or snow. A snow day would go be a really good thing for me right now!!

It's Monday and it's raining

Yes. Monday. After what I knew would be the weekend from Helsinki (as far as time for me to knit was concerned...). And, yes, I did have fun. But I was also pretty grumpy. Sigh... I think part of my brain was continuously registering the fact that I needed to be knitting or sanding or staining or sewing or...

But, I did get something done! WoOt! Diagonal Ribs are down to kitchener stitch and end weaving. Yippee!! And, perhaps even better, I finally picked up the Earl Blue and looked very closely to see if the stitches I picked up after dropping (why did I drop stitches on a cable??) were done okay. And they were! And I'm on the gussets!

Now, for other bad news. Friday I drilled the dowel holes in the table, and... yeah... I put one leg on wrong. 3 correctly orient pointing downwards and 1 goes up. Straight up in the air. But, I think I can just drill new holes and go from there. Also, I made a wee error in that I drilled the dowel holes at the same location for each piece of the apron (front, back, two sides) and into the legs. And didn't notice that that caused me to drill the holes in the legs into each other. But, again, I think I can fix this. Cutting some dowels shorter should do the trick!

The box went very well, though. Sand, finish (stain & poly) and hardware (hinges, clasp). That's all that's left... I can get that done!!

The rest... well, we'll see. It's not looking very good, but I'll keep plugging away. Just think of me as the Little Engine That Could in training.

I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Look - lists!

Yip. Now, I'm also going to be moving stuff from the "Not Yet Done" to the "Completed" list. It should be such fun. Unless nothing moves... Hmmm....


Okay, kids, we've revamped The Grand Schedule. That which was to control my life until Christmas. That which was scrambled by a touch of stomach flu. Doesn't my body know that it's not allowed to decide it needs 16 hours of sleep instead of a mere 7? And how about the boyfriend planning a full day of activities on Saturday? Albeit everything will be tons of fun, and I'm going to have a great time, but you just can't knit a lace cardigan at a roller derby. Okay... maybe you can. I can't.

And there's all that traveling to take into consideration. I didn't win a dime on the lottery, so I don't have plane tickets. Of course, there are still several drawings between now and the drop-dead get-in-the-car-and-go day. So, maybe there's still a chance on that. 2 hours on a plane knitting beats 7.5 hours in a car driving. It's really hard to knit and drive, especially if you're the only one in the car...

But, I still have high hopes that I will be done with all but one project. Very high hopes. Stoned hopes? I'm not sure how in touch with reality I am right now. Everything has taken more time than it should, every knit object has had a point where dropped stitches had to be picked up (or even better - I had to frog out entirely and change needle size...).

So, I've decided that I'm going to post once a day, giving myself pep talks and/or pats on the back, depending on how the day before has gone.

Today: pep and pat. Wood working went pretty well. A dear friend, Cindy, came over and did sanding on project A (table) while I worked on project B (box). We worked until my recently-healthy body felt like it really needed to sit down and not move for a bit. And we accomplished quite a lot. Cindy sands so very much better than I do - all I have left is one leg (partly done) and the table top. Huzzah! The box gave me a lot of problems, or rather the frame that gets a mirror mounted in it. The equivalent of wrong needle size and dropped stitches. And they all were cutting the 45 degree angle to miter the corners. First, cut parallelograms instead of an isosceles trapezoid. Next, successfully created trapezoids, but the rabbet for the mirror was on the outside edge of the frame, not the inside edge. Third, successfully created a frame. That was one quarter of an inch too small. The fourth time was the charm! And, I'll have a bunch of cute little frames from all the mistakes... And, oo-ee!, did I learn a lot about how not to make a frame!!

Tonight, assembly of the wooden objects. And finishing a pair of socks. I'm 2.5" from starting the toe on a really quick-working pattern. I will finish these socks!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Optimism? Or Insanity?

I swear on all that I hold holy that I really did start the Christmas project production in a timely fashion. Heck, I worked on something in September! And then October just sort of whizzed right on by (I did travel all but one of the weekends, which probably added to the general whizziness). November was a blur. And now, it is December.... And I still have a ton to do!

And, although part of my brain is insisting that I still have enough time, another part of my brain is registering the fact that Christmas is coming... And the goose appears to be anorexic...

I've already ear-marked one project as something that can be done while I'm staying at my parents' house for a few days before Christmas. Really. I can do a pair of socks in three days. That's a non-issue. And I've earmarked another project for wrapping on the needles, just in case. So, really, I only have 3 pairs of socks and a cardigan to knit. In 12 days. Oh, yeah, no problem! And there's these woodworking projects as well. Yeah. No stress here!!

There are some bright spots - the most complicated woodworking project is currently a pile of appropriately cut parts. The less complicated one is, well, really easy. The 3 pairs of socks are in progress - heels done on one pair, heels started on another, and the third... well, it's started. Let's leave it at that! Oh, and the cardi is started, and it took very little to get an inch done (2 or 4 rows). So, that should zoom. Yip.

I think if I wake up at 6am on Saturday and Sunday, and I work my arse off and collapse at 11pm each day, I should be okay...

I can do this.

And if you happen to have stumble across this blog and are the praying kind, you might want to say a little pray for my sanity....